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Cosmic Quote(s) #71

“Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”–Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Dirk Gentlyís Holistic Detective Agency Season 1, Episode 1 Air Date: 10/22/16 Pictured: Elijah Wood (Todd) and Samuel Barnett (Dirk Gently)

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Season 1, Episode 1
Air Date: 10/22/16
Pictured: Elijah Wood (Todd) and Samuel Barnett (Dirk Gently)

 

Tired of binge watching staid period pieces?  Ok, then. Eff it.  Binge watch this.

 

 

 

 

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Time Out: From the Archives of Early Children’s Television

This  article appeared yesterday under a different title as my monthly guest post on The Blog of Funny Names.

Buffalo Bob: “What time is it?”

Peanut Gallery: “It’s Howdy Doody Time!”

Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody, c. 1955

Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody, c. 1955

My age is showing, but what the %#@.  If you’re an American baby boomer the name Howdy Doody (1947-1960) is synonymous with seminal children’s television–perhaps the most recognized name of 1950’s kiddie fare.    If you happen to be be a boomer of a certain age–over sixty too many years old–you might just recall another oddball TV name from that era:  Winky Dink (1953-1957).

For you uninitiated, uncultured whippersnappers, I’ll elaborate.

Howdy Doody–In the 1940’s,  a Buffalo New York native, Bob Smith, created the character Howdy Doody for a WNBC radio program.  The popularity of the program led him to make the move to television in 1947.  the program featured both human and puppet characters, which included:

Flub-A-Dub. What happens wnen puppeteers get high.

Flub-A-Dub. What happens when puppeteers get high.

  • Heidi Doody–Howdy Doody’s sister
  • Phineus T. Bluster–The local mayor
  • Flub-a-Dub–an odd creature composed of body parts of 8 different animals
  • Inspector John J. Fadoozle, private eye
  • Dilly Dally–A circus performer
  • Clarabell Hornblower–a mute clown originally played by one Bob Keeshan of Capatain Kangaroo fame.

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Phineas T. Bluster.  Politics hasn't changed.

Phineas T. Bluster. Politics hasn’t changed.

Perhaps the most interesting sidebar to the entire Howdy Doody run on NBC, was an ongoing battle between Smith and puppet-maker Frank Paris.   Paris made the original Howdy Doody puppet and complained constantly of being cheated out of royalties.  Howdy Doody dolls were all the rage, and Bob Smity owned the property rights to the character.  You’ve heard the phrase”I’ll take my football and go home?”  Well on more than one occasion, the irate Smith took his Howdy Doody puppet from the studio and went home.  Problem.  The show was aired live in those pre-video tape days, forcing a last minute plot and script change making excuses for why Howdy wasn’t around.

By the way, the term Peanut Gallery, actually dates to Vaudeville.  It referred to the cheapest seats where the cheapest snack–peanuts–were sold.  But most of us today know the term from The Howdy Doody Show, which resurrected it for the live studio audience of kids.

Winky Dink–The name Jack Barry will forever live in TV infamy, for his roll in rigging the game show Twenty-One. It lead to congressional hearings, national disgrace, and ultimately the book and movie Quiz Show.  What only a few of us who were watching kiddie TV in the mid-1950’s will remember, though, was that he was the host of a quirky live and animated program Winky Dink and You.

Long before twitter and other social media, Winky Dink was probably the first interactive TV show, though in the most lo-tech of manners.  The show featured Barry interacting with the cartoons projected beside him.  The interaction with audience was by means of a coded message or connect the dots puzzle, that could only be read by writing directly on the TV, or rather on a clear plastic film covering the TV.  Problem.  You had to send in to the network to get the clear plastic film, or Magic Window, as they called it.   I didn’t have one and I couldn’t bear the suspense of not knowing what that image or message was, so I finally took a crayon and wrote, sans clear film, directly on our ancient TV screen.   My mother was not pleased.  Let’s just say, Howdy Doody, I got my Winky Dinked!

 

 

 

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Cosmic Quote(s) #26

“Don’t know if it’s good or bad that a Google search on “Big Bang Theory” lists the sitcom before the origin of the Universe”–Neil deGrasse Tyson.

“The Big Bang Theory: When geeky scientists can be main characters in a hit prime time series, you know there’s hope for the world.”–Neil deGrasse Tyson

If there are two things I absolutely love, they are Neil deGrasse Tyson and The Big Bang Theory.  They are both witty and intelligent.  When you combine the two, as in the video clip below,  it’s like putting hot fudge on double chocolate ice cream.  Tyson has done more to popularize and promote the scientific world view than any American since Carl Sagan–and with a sense of humor.  Hmmm, kinda like The Big Bang Theory (the show, not the actual theory).  Carry on Dr. Tyson.

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Xavier Cugat and Charo

As a fitting follow up to the Funniest Names in the NFL, here is my latest guest post on The Blog of Funny Names.

The Blog of Funny Names

How’s this for a couple: Francesc d’Asis Xavier Cugat Mingall de Bru i Deulofeu (1 January 1900 – 27 October 1990) and Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza (born January 15, 1945)?

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.  As you might surmise, there is a story as to how they became a couple and how they came to be featured on this blog.

Let’s start with the latter (and shorter) story first.  In perusing the NFL draft’s funniest names, I noticed that not only were there two guys named Cornelius up for grabs, there were also two named Xavier.  As Xavier seemed to be nearly as good a candidate for funny names fodder as Cornelius, the search was on for a funny-named Xavier in other walks of life.    Seek and ye shall find.  Buried deep in the archives of my decaying neurons was a blurry vision from an Ed…

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Guest Post Reblog #2

I’m back from the Iberian peninsula just in time to reblog my second monthly guest post on The Blog of Funny Names. Appropriately enough, it’s a place name and not a person.

In other news, my thanks to Sue of Dreamshadow59 for nominating me for the very inspiring blogger award. I do appreciate the nominations (this my 8th I think) but I don’t participate–meaning I don’t jump through the required hoops among which require nominating so many other bloggers, so that it spreads like a rhinovirus through the blogosphere.    http://dreamshadow59.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

Now, if I can find my office under all this snow, back to real life.

The Blog of Funny Names

Truth or Consequences, NM,is indeed one of the odd names in American Geography.  The story of the name’s origin is odder still.  I thought I had it nailed back in the early 70’s, long before the founders of this blog were even born.  I drove through Truth or Consequences on a cross country trip.  As I passed beyond the city limits heading north towards Albequerque, I saw a huge sign on the interstate proclaiming “NEXT SERVICES 100 MILES.”  Aha!  That has to be it, I thought, as I looked down at my dashboard. My gas gauge had better be telling me the truth, or I would pay the consequences!

Wrong.   Well, sort of right; my observation about being screwed if my gas gauge was inaccurate probably was true.  But  the true story of how the former Hot Springs, NM changed its name is more unlikely than that. It…

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